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Go Healthier at Thanksgiving ! Here's How...

Updated on August 17, 2014
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Tracey has been writing online for over 10 years. She also is a graphical artist for social media sites. She loves writing about home life!

Make A Guilt Free Holiday Feast !

You don't have to pass up all those delicious Thanksgiving foods ! We have taken all your favorite holiday recipes and transformed them with much healthier and low calorie ingredients....... without changing the taste ! The calories in stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, even green bean casserole can be cut in half or more with nothing more than a few different choices in what you put in them. Try a few of our recipes and you will see that classic Thanksgiving entrees and side dishes don't have to be full of calories, carbs and fat to be delicious.

That is something to be thankful for !

~all photos courtesy of

Cranberry Apple Relish - 1/4 cup = 24 calories

This relish is a favorite in our family to replace plain jellied cranberry sauce. So easy to make and impressive when served.

2 cups ground fresh or frozen cranberries

1/2 cup diced, pealed apple

1/4 cup raisins

sugar substitute equivalent to 3/4 cup of sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Makes 2.5 cups. (10 servings)

Serving: 1/4 cup

Calories: 24

Carbs: 6 gm

Fiber: 1gm

Classic Pan Gravy - 3 Tablespoons = 31 calories

1 qt. water

1 onion, cut in pieces

1 stalk celery, cut in pieces

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp. Dash seasoning

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

First, make turkey stock. Remove the giblets from the bird and wash well. Boil giblets together with neck in 1 quart of water with onion and celery. Drain off broth and refrigerate to defat.

To make gravy, heat canola oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in cornstarch until smooth. Add 3 cups turkey stock, bay leaf, wine and seasonings.

Cook over low heat, stirring, until gravy thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Calories: 31,

Total Fat: 1g,

Carbs: 3g,

Cholesterol: 0mg,

Protein: 1g

Mashed Potatoes

1/2 cup = 69 calories

The secret is to use cauliflower and potatoes to cut calories. I guarantee that no one will taste anything but mashed potatoes.

2 large potatoes, peeled and halved

1 (10 oz) package of frozen cauliflower

1/4 cup low fat milk

1 tablespoon of low calorie margarine

1 tablespoon or chopped parsley

1 teaspoon of parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

Cover potatoes with water in a 2 qt. saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for 10 minutes until almost tender. Add cauliflower. Simmer covered 5 minutes longer until the vegetables are tender. Drain. Puree potatoes and cauliflower in a food processor, place in a large bowl. Stir in milk, butter, parsley, cheese and pepper. Either mix well with a spoon or put everything back in the food processor for a more smooth consistency.

69 calories for a 1/2 cup serving

Stuffing - 1/2 cup = 106 calories

1 tblsp light butter

14 oz stuffing bread (such as peppridge farm)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced musrhoom

2-3 cloves of garlic

2- 2 1/2 cup chicken broth

poultry seasoning to taste ( I usually use 1-2 tsp)

pepper to taste around 1 tsp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Heat a large saute pan once heated add butter and spray with cooking spray add carrots and saute add celery, onion, garlic and mushroom add additional cooking spray if needed continue cooking until veggies are tender remove from heat transfer to bowl and allow to cool slightly

In a large bowl add bread stuffing and veggies toss together, season with pepper and poultry seasoning, add chicken broth mixing until moist but not soaking taste and adjust seasoning

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray, add stuffing mix and cover with foil. Bake 20-25 minutes uncover and cook additional 10 minutes or until slightly crispy on top.

Calories: 106.1 per 1/2 cup serving

Total Fat: 1.4 g

Total Carbs: 20.3 g

Dietary Fiber: 3.9 g

Protein: 2.8 g

Green Bean Casserole - 3/4 cup = 103 calories

1/3 chopped onions

1/3 cup fine dry plain bread crumbs

4 slices turkey bacon

1 (10 1/2 ounce) can of 99% fat free, low sodium, condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup fat free yogurt

1/3 teaspoon liquid smoke

3 (9 ounce) packages frozen French style green beans, thawed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with no stick spray.

In a small bowl, stir together the onions and the bread crumbs. Evenly spread the mixture on the cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the onion mixture from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook the bacon according to the directions on the package. Chop the bacon and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the condensed soup, yogurt and liquid smoke. Then stir in the beans and bacon.

Lightly spray a 11 x 7 baking dish with no stick spray. Transfer the bean mixture to the baking dish,. Top with the onion mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Calories 103 for 3/4 cup serving

Fat 2 gm

Cholesteral 7

Candied Sweet Potatoes - 1/2 cup = 110 calories

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

2 tablespoons orange all-fruit preserves

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 teaspoon of all spice

Combine the juice and preserves, blend well. Arrange the potatoes in a baking dish. Pour the orange mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle with all spice. Cover the dish with tin foil.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally. Or microwave (no tin foil) for 20 to 25 minutes. Potatoes are done when you can pierce them easily with a fork.

Calories 110 for a 1/2 cup serving

fiber 2 gm

Sugar 1.4g

Carbs 23 gm

Protein 1 gm

Pumpkin Pie - 114 Calories for 1/8 of a Pie

16 ounce can solid pack pumpkin

13 ounce can evaporated skim milk

1 egg

2 egg whites

1/2 cup biscuit mix (like Bisquick)

2 tablespoons sugar

8 packets sugar substitute, (16 teaspoons or 1/3 cup)

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons vanilla

Pumpkin Pie Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray. Place all ingredients in blender, food processor or mixing bowl. Blend one minute or beat two minutes with mixer. Pour into pie pan and bake for 50 minutes or until center is puffed up.

Yield: 8 servings

Calories: 114 per 1/8 pie piece

Carbohydrate: 18.5 grams

Protein: 6.3 grams

Fat: 1.9 grams

Fiber: 1.4gm

Cholesterol: 37mg

Apple Crisp - 1/2 cup = 190 calories

4 large baking apples, peeled and sliced

3/4 cup brown sugar substitute (like Splenda Brown Sugar)

1/2 cup wheat flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup low fat margarine

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking

spray and place the apples in the pan.

Mix the brown sugar substitute, flour, oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg together and

place on top of the apples. Drop dots of margarine over the dry mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes


Serving size: 1/2 cup.

Calories 198

Total Fat 5g

Saturated Fat 1g

Carbohydrate 61g

Fiber 4g

Sugars 24g

Protein 3g

Imagery Credits

and Recipe Credits

Thanks to for providing the photos that make this lens look great !

These recipes started out as family recipes, but I have reworked them and made them my own. Please do not copy, for other than personal use, without my permission.

Fun Food Poll ~ What Do You Think ? - Do You Believe It Or Not ?

Do lower calorie versions of classic dishes taste the same as the originals ?

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Light and Easy Holiday Cooking: Simple, Healthy Meals That Are As Good-Tasting As They Are Good for You
Light and Easy Holiday Cooking: Simple, Healthy Meals That Are As Good-Tasting As They Are Good for You

Sandra Woodruff, celebrated cookbook author and registered dietician, believes that it is possible to eat guilt-free on holidays and everyday throughout the year. No need for post-holiday dieting, because the recipes in Light and Healthy Holiday Cooking are simple and smart variations of all the traditional favorites, with flavorful ingredient substitutions that won't compromise taste or texture. Woodruff suggests easy replacements of low- or nonfat dairy products or mayonnaise for the full-fat ingredients. She calls for fruit juice rather than white processed sugar to sweeten desserts, and even proffers honey as a healthier alternative. The nutritional totals at the end of each recipe make it easy to count calorie and fat intake so you know where you stand--or what you stand to gain.

Fat-Free Holiday Recipes
Fat-Free Holiday Recipes

The perfect book for people who want to reduce the fat in their diet, maximize their nutrition, and treat their friends and family to delicious holiday dishes, Fat-Free Holiday Recipes presents over 200 kitchen-tested recipes encompassing all the major holidays, with dishes that run the gamut from hors d'oeuvres and finger foods to eight complete dinner party menus. 16 color photos.

400 Calories or Less: Holiday Recipes Cookbook
400 Calories or Less: Holiday Recipes Cookbook

Are you looking for some holiday menu ideas that won't break your diet plan or simply are more nutritious and healthy than typical holiday fare? Then look no further ! 400 Calories or Less has put together full menu plans for 4th of July, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Easter, Superbowl Sunday, New Year's Eve and Christmas. From elegant appetizers to savory soups to tasty dinners to fun beverages, you'll find it all. And all recipes are 400 calories or less. Pairing the right dishes, you can have a full holiday meal for less calories than one typical dessert. Yet these dishes are decadent and delightful and will have your family and guests lining up for more.


Cooking Apps - For Android

A Bit About Jade ...

and why I wrote this page

Along with the rest of the baby boomer population, as I get older, i worry about my health more. After doing some research, I found that the single biggest contributing factor to your health (that you have control over) is what you eat. It isn't only about weight anymore. What you eat can have a significant effect on your arteries, your heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, and even your energy level on a day to day basis.

Like most people, I don't want to give up all the foods I love, so I did the next best thing.....I learned to cook in a new way. It's not really any harder, but it certain pays off in health and a happier life.

Do You Love Cooking?

How About Gardening, Sewing and Crafts?

If you do, you might want to visit my Blog Homemade by Jade This blog is dedicated to reviving the skills of "homemade." Most of the posts are about gardening, cooking, sewing, crafts and DIY household projects.

Do You Have a Recipe to Share ? - Or Just A Comment ?

Submit a Comment

  • ecogranny profile image

    Kathryn Grace 

    5 years ago from San Francisco

    You've given us lots of good ideas here for making less fattening T-day foods. One of our favorite recipes is to chop a quart or two of root vegetables--whatever is in season--toss them in a big bowl with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, 5-6 whole cloves garlic, some onion and colorful bell peppers, then spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast about 25-30 minutes at 350 or so, depending on how much of a hurry we're in. We serve them with my cheesy yogurt dip, which you can find here on Squidoo ("Sweet and Savory Cheese Dips You Can Make in Minutes"). Roasted veggies are a beautiful, tasty and leaner substitute for heavily sweetened and buttered yams or mashed potatoes during the holidays. They also make an easy supper, paired with any fresh or lightly braised dark, leafy greens.

  • sweetstickyrainbo profile image


    6 years ago

    good advice

  • Mami Design profile image

    Mami Design 

    6 years ago


  • Nancy Hardin profile image

    Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

    6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    Your recipes sure sound good to me. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on your beautiful purple star! Blessed by a SquidAngel.

  • SheGetsCreative profile image

    Angela F 

    6 years ago from Seattle, WA

    An excellent lens for Thanksgiving! Congrats on your star... here's a sprinkle of angel dust to go with that (don't worry - it's fat free)

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Great subsitutions. Everything looks delicious. Congratulations on your purple star. Well deserved.

  • Scarlettohairy profile image

    Peggy Hazelwood 

    6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

    Wonderful ideas for a slimmed down Thanksgiving!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    We're watching cholesterol counts these days. This is a lens to bookmark. Thank you!

  • Margaret Schindel profile image

    Margaret Schindel 

    6 years ago from Massachusetts

    Great ideas for slimming down our traditional Thanksgiving favorites. Blessed!

  • Virginia Allain profile image

    Virginia Allain 

    6 years ago from Central Florida

    Great info. I'll feature this on my Walking Off Thanksgiving Calories lens.


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